Marseille back on track
Last Updated: 12/12/12 10:35pm
Joey Barton looks to close down Sambou Yatabare
Elie Baup got the response he had demanded this week as Marseille bounced back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory at Bastia on Wednesday evening.
Back-to-back home league defeats had threatened to derail OM's title challenge, with Baup holding clear-the-air talks following the weekend's shock 3-0 reverse against Lorient.
Baup's tough talking was rewarded in full as Mathieu Valbuena and an Andre Ayew penalty either side of half-time secured a win made more significant after leaders Lyon could only draw 1-1 against Nancy earlier tonight.
Anthony Modeste pulled a goal back for Bastia seven minutes from the end but Marseille held on to move three points behind Lyon.
The match was played behind closed doors, although some Bastia fans arrived at the gates and followed the scores online.
They would not have been happy with what they saw as Marseille deservedly led at half-time following Valbuena's sweet 15th-minute volley.
Valbuena had an early effort kept out by Landry Bonnefoi but there was no stopping his volley soon after as he smashed Morgan Amalfitano's knock-down into the top corner.
The Ayew brothers combined on the half-hour with Jordan freeing Andre only for Bonnefoi to keep out his shot with a diving save.
Andre Ayew then fizzed a shot, after he was picked out by Valbuena, that skimmed the post just before the break.
The Ghana international was in the thick of the action after the break as he headed a Valbuena corner narrowly wide before being handed his chance to make it 2-0 from the spot on 70 minutes.
The referee pointed to the spot after Bonnefoi tripped Toifilou Maoulida and Ayew calmly shovelled his spot-kick over the keeper and into the net.
Bastia gave themselves hope of stealing a point when veteran Jerome Rothen's pin-point throughball was driven in by Modeste, but it was Marseille who almost grabbed another goal in injury time when Bonnefoi dived to keep out an Andre-Pierre Gignac strike.
French Ligue 1
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|18||Evian Thonon Gaillar||38||37|